SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Donovan Mitchell kept thinking about the Utah Jazz losing a 3-1 lead to Denver in last season’s playoffs.
Even though allergies woke him up every hour one night before the Jazz played with another 3-1 series advantage over the Memphis Grizzlies, Mitchell focused on a quick start and a solid finish.
Mtichell scored 26 of his 30 points in the first half and the Jazz advanced to the second round of the playoffs, beating the Grizzlies 126-110 on Wednesday night in Game 5.
I think setting the tone was huge. We did it as a unit on both ends of the field and with the understanding that you can’t bring a team such life, ”Mitchell said of the quick start from Utah.
Mitchell also had 10 assists and six rebounds in 29 minutes, resting a bit before facing the winner of the Los Angeles Clippers-Dallas Mavericks game.
“These allergies kicked my ass, probably the worst I’ve ever had,” Mitchell snorted.
On the pitch, Mitchell was doing all the kicks and making sure the playoff outcome was different from last season.
“Donovan has improved every year since he’s been here and obviously his return has been essential and has been huge for us because of the way we play now. It’s fun playing with Donovan, said Rudy Gobert, who has 23 points and 15 rebounds for Utah.
Jordan Clarkson scored 24 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 points to help the seeded Jazz claim their fourth straight victory.
Even after a cool fourth quarter, the Jazz pulled 53%.
“We’ve really moved the ball, and when we do that the first thing that has to happen is we have to space out – we can’t be standing next to each other – to move the ball like we do. want to. We had the will to pass and shoot, ”Utah coach Quin Snyder said.
The Memphis Big Three all played effectively on offense, but received little help from the supporting cast. Ja Morant finished his record-breaking first playoff series with 27 points and 11 assists. Dillon Brooks also scored 27 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 18.
Ja has grown so much this year. I know he’s going to be very motivated heading into the offseason to level up as a player (and) continue to help this team take it to the next level. His words in the locker room were “We will be back” and that’s a good mentality. … He’s only scratching the surface of what he can become as a player, ”said Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins.
Mitchell capped Utah’s big first half with two contested 26-foot jumpers to bring the score to 75-51 and put the 13,000 fans on their feet.
The Jazz got past the Grizzlies’ slow rotations and scored on 16 of 19 possessions to start the game, highlighted by an 8-for-10 3-point shot. Mitchell scored 14 points in six minutes and the Jazz were leading 47-27 by the end of the first quarter – two more than the previous team playoff record for any quarterback of 45 set in 1991.
“We attacked the rim. We shared the ball and we played in defense. When we move the ball we go into the paint and we move the ball like we did, I don’t think there is a single defensive pattern that can really stop us. We’ve seen them all, ”Gobert said.
Clarkson’s 3 points in the middle of the third quarter gave the Jazz their biggest lead at 91-56
“We got to see how we stacked up against a No.1 seed and we gave them all the fights we could. Our defense has been tested. We could have played a little better with the pass during this series. Guys just have to watch a movie and make their weaknesses their strengths, so when we come back we’ll be that unstoppable team, ”said Brooks.
The Jazz played all season with the bitter taste that blew in Denver, but they didn’t even give Memphis a glimmer of hope of repeating history in that elimination game and led end to end so that they reached the second round for the first time since 2018.
“This game is over, this series is over and we didn’t go that far to win a single series. we have to go out there and do it over and over and over again, ”Mitchell said.
The Grizzlies believe they have grown throughout the series and will be ready to take a similar step to Utah next year.
“None of us like to lose. We certainly didn’t want our season to end the way it did. But, I mean, we have a lot to be proud of in our fight, ”said Morant. “Everyone is hungry for more.”
IS CONLEY READY FOR ROUND 2?
Mike Conley left with 8:58 left in the second quarter with right hamstring pain and did not return. He has missed 21 games this season, mostly because of his hamstrings.
“In the first quarter, I just felt the little tug or whatever in my hammer,” Conley said. I created the bench and informed the staff. but it was getting more and more painful the more I was running on it, so they decided to shoot me. ”
The former Memphis star was disheartened especially as he worked so hard in training and missed so many games at the end of the regular season to be ready for the playoffs.
I’m frustrated, for sure, afterwards. I put a lot of effort into showing up early, staying late, strengthening, running, conditioning, everything, ”said Conley.
Grizzlies: After experiencing fan misconduct in Game 2, Morant’s family members were allocated court-side seats by Utah owner Ryan Smith. . Memphis scored more points in the paint than Utah in the first four games, but was outscored 60-52.
Jazz: The new minority owner, Dwayne Wade, sat next to the field and said, “Everyone take note! The Jazz are heading for the second round. ”. Jazz tied a franchise record in the playoffs with nine 3s in the first quarter. . There was a moment of silence before the game in honor of former Jazz center Mark Eaton. He died last week at the age of 64.
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